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How to make an Awesome portfolio

We speak to Georgia Luckman from the Association of Illustrators to find out how to create a portfolio which will get you jobs!

 

As a members advisor of the AOI, Georgia provides info on everything from valuing work, negotiating contracts, understanding copyright and licensing, working with international clients, agencies, to portfolio and self-promotion on a daily basis. So, whose better brain to pick to discover what makes an awesome portfolio?!

Why is having a strong portfolio so important?

Building a strong portfolio is the key to success. A strong body of work will determine the level of clients/customers you attract. Commissioners need to be shown the highest quality of your work and in essence, your portfolio is your creative CV. In a very competitive industry, think about what are you doing to stand out above the rest!

How should you decide what makes the cut and what doesn’t?

Sit down Marie Kondo style and ask if you want to be doing this kind of work for the rest of your life. Does it bring you joy? If not leave it out, and focus on the future.

 

Realistically, a combination of 9 high-quality commissioner driven personal projects in the area of industry you want to work in, will speak volumes above 50 less relevant commercial projects you’ve previously taken on to pay the bills (or created for uni)

Awesome Merchandise, AOI, CacheteJack

What should people avoid when putting together a portfolio?

Avoid submission forms and make sure you have a clear contact form. It’s important to make it easy for commissioners to reach out to you. Make sure you include your professional email or mobile number!

 

Avoid generic themes – avoid pets and celebs. Do yourself a favour challenge yourself to create something new.

 

Avoid describing yourself as a student or novice. Presenting yourself as a professional and you will be treated like one. Legit!

Where should you host your portfolio?

Absolutely 100% host your portfolio online – think of the extended reach of people who will want to work with you. There’s a huge global audience out there and given the nature of your profession, you can work with anyone anywhere without leaving your studio at home.

Awesome Merchandise, AOI, CacheteJack

Does an Instagram account of your work count as a portfolio?

It’s a very useful add-on to your profession, we’re seeing more and more work being commissioned through this platform. It’s contemporary and simple to use. But remember it’s not your main portfolio, this space should be reserved for your website. Get an enquiry through? Move the conversation straight to your professional email.

When you have your portfolio sorted, what should you do with it?

 

Invest time into getting your work out there. Build client lists and start reaching out to your dream clients with carefully written and bespoke social posts, emails, newsletters, and promo material. Join the AOI and ask us for advice and information about how to promote and protect yourself in an affordable way.

Illustrations by AOI member CacheteJack

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